Web Scraping Case Study – HospitalCareers Uses Web Scraping to Dominate Recruiting
June 03, 2019
Mozenda + HospitalCareers.com
His wife’s casual after-dinner observation in 2006 launched Brian Bauer on an entrepreneurial journey that has made the Knoxville, TN founder of HospitalCareers.com an unseen but vital part of the American healthcare industry. We spoke to Brian about his journey.
Let’s start at the beginning. What’s your background?
I graduated from Purdue in Small Business Management, always wanted to open a business but didn’t know which industry. I started working for a startup in Indianapolis in 2003, got promoted to Marketing Director after a year, then helped grow the business in 30 months from one million to over nine million in revenue. It was fast and exciting. I was talking to my wife about doing my own thing when she quietly mentioned healthcare recruiting. I quit my job and became a solopreneur. I hustled to find clients in the healthcare space that could use my digital marketing skills to recruit nurses and therapists.
Within two years, I’d established myself as a marketing and advertising jack-of-all-trades with a reputation for delivering cost-effective recruiting results. The Minnesota Hospital Association approached me to develop and manage a statewide job board. I didn’t hesitate. I hired some developers to develop a website, we collected job openings and began driving traffic to it. The site was popular almost instantly. Within six months, 85% of the statewide healthcare market in Minnesota was using it. Thousands of hospitals, clinics and candidates were introduced to each other.
That’s amazing adoption.
It was. Definitely the right place at the right time. My business steadily grew as I continued to sign up more and more individual hospitals and clinics, plus another state association. The back-end, though, was a heavily manual process of aggregating and publishing openings. It was a lot of admin work. The turning point was when I signed up our third state association partner.
They had over a thousand jobs they didn’t want to manually post so they asked us “How can we get our jobs in your database and on the site?” I started looking for solutions. During my research, I learned about web-scraping tools. I found four companies that looked interesting, and tried everybody’s product. I ended up choosing Mozenda because when I saw what it could do, I just fell in love with their ability to scale automation and web data extraction.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this decision to our success during the last 7-8 years. It enabled us to develop a streamlined and automated process that’s ultra reliable, saves clients a ton of manual work and enabled me to build a very successful business.
Let’s talk more about what you do.
HospitalCareers has over 4,200 customers, hospitals, clinics, and healthcare systems as individual clients. Then we have 33 state Hospital Associations that outsource their statewide job boards to us.
We offer two distinct but complementary services.
The first is providing individual healthcare providers with an automated and cost-effective way to promote their job openings online. These clients are extremely diverse, ranging from huge systems to tiny rural clinics. At the high end, we work with gigantic multi-billion dollar systems like the Mayo Clinic, Align Health and MaineHealth. In the middle is our bread and butter prospect, a 150 to 200-bed hospital. The low end, 30% of our clients, are very small, critical access hospitals with 25 or fewer beds that are located in rural areas of the country. They’re typically remote and in dire need of healthcare employees because you can’t meet quality of care standards without proper staffing. They’re small but incredibly important to their communities so the results we deliver are really important.
In addition, we provide 33 state healthcare associations with recruiting, employer branding and content marketing services. On their behalf, we operate job websites that aggregate openings from most, if not all of the healthcare providers within their state. Growth in this area has made HospitalCareers the most cost-effective healthcare recruitment platform and largest healthcare association-based recruiting network in the US. We dominate this market.
That’s a lot of growth in just over a decade. What’s your strategy?
We’ve definitely evolved. Three years ago we developed a network strategy to grow the business. The core is our vision of HospitalCareers.com as a national platform and network. The foundation is the most cost-effective healthcare recruitment solution in the country. To effectively execute the strategy, we developed some key pillars:
Push from the top: State organizations promote the HospitalCareers platform to their membership, which typically represents 100% of the hospital in a given state. This has a very powerful top-down effect.
Keep pricing simple: Our pricing structure is transparent and fixed. Clients pay an annual fee based on the number of licensed beds at their hospital. It’s a fixed line item in their annual budget. It covers unlimited usage, job postings, applicants and applications so there are no surprises at year-end.
Deliver value: Mozenda helps us make a really compelling sales pitch:
- There’s one annual fee.
- It doesn’t require internal involvement from HR: We will set up an automated Mozenda web scraping agent that pulls all of their jobs directly out of the applicant tracking system or ATS.
- It doesn’t matter which ATS they use because we can work with most of them.
- We use programmatic advertising to distribute jobs through an XML feed to hundreds of sites that we distribute jobs to. This saves prospects from having to cross-post across, ZipRecruiter, GlassDoor, Linkedin, Google for Jobs, and numerous other sites.
- We send applicants directly to apply via the client’s ATS, which is something they’re already paying for.
- Instead of having to post manually to a site like Monster.com for a 30-day fee of upwards of $450, we’ll streamline every part of their sourcing workflow for them.
Automate angst: About 80% of our customers don’t want to post job openings manually. This means they must either scrape their jobs or configure a data feed, which most can’t configure technically. We eliminate this hassle.
Manage the mayhem: Often in smaller facilities, there’s not enough time, energy, or resources to manage multiple software systems and publish job openings on multiple job sites. We take over these marketing responsibilities so that HR pros can concentrate on managing their ATS traffic.
It really is a great story to deliver to prospects. The only thing they need to do is ensure that they’re properly tracking the flow of candidates and applications we send them.
You mentioned that Mozenda is part of your sales pitch. How does it fit into your business?
If we didn’t have Mozenda, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful as we are. That’s the bottom line. We use Mozenda on the backend to scrape job openings from a client’s ATS so they can be uploaded to our database. It’s definitely a super vital part of our business model because some of our clients have huge systems with thousands of openings. Of the roughly 28,000 hospital job listings we’re promoting right now, I’d say that 75-80% came from Mozenda.
Creating a new web scraping agent takes about 5-10 minutes, a bit longer if we find that the HTML of the target URL requires us to write custom XPATH instructions. Agents typically run three times a week on average based on the state we’re working in. After they run, Mozenda sends out a .CSV file that is automatically uploaded to our site. Everything is automated.
Although it might sound a little too simple, it really is that easy. Simplicity and ease-of-use are two reasons why I continue to love your product. It just works! And whenever we need assistance with agents or something else, Mozenda’s customer support is incredibly responsive and helpful.
Mozenda collects the data you need. Does the technology help you in other ways?
Actually, it does. Mozenda is a vital aspect of our sales presentations. We have a dedicated PowerPoint slide explaining how we streamline the process for clients to maximize their advertising budgets. In the case of our smaller clients, budgets are usually small. When we explain that we have a system that will very simplistically scrape all jobs directly from their ATS, ultimately source candidates for them, including job posting URLs, and then send applicants to apply directly through their ATS, there’s a lot of excitement on the other side of the table.
We differentiate life before us and life with us, emphasizing how they will no longer have to manage multiple platforms and monitor yet another job board or careers site. Instead, they’ll only have to manage their own ATS and internal hiring processes and workflows. Painting a contrast between their busy and frenetic life now against the time-savings and future peace once they adopt HospitalCareers is a big differentiator for us.
Can you summarize the present as far as how Mozenda has helped HospitalCareers grow?
There’s no question that Mozenda has played a vital role in making HospitalCareers the most cost-effective recruitment tool in healthcare. As the owner of the business, I haven’t had to hire people to manage the scraping process. We’ve been able to avoid a pricing model based on the number of job postings. As Mozenda has reduced cost of goods for us, we’ve been able to pass the savings to our clients and reduce their operating costs.
The economic reasons for choosing HospitalCareers are fairly obvious. Customers also love working with us because they can concentrate on results rather than process. Instead of living in the weeds of posting and promoting job ads, they can focus on external KPIs such as the number of jobs posted, page views and apply clicks, and internal metrics such as application completions, interviews and hires originating from HospitalCareers and other integral sources.I really can’t stress enough how vital Mozenda is—I know I keep saying this but it’s true—to our current business model and the future direction that we’re going.
What does the future hold for HospitalCareers?
Definitely exciting. Moving forward, I want to expand HospitalCareers into LinkedIn territory by giving healthcare professionals the opportunity to learn and remain up-to-date with the knowledge requirements of their professions. This means adding continuing education content, more of a social aspect for healthcare professionals and other job search products to the platform, something that I’ll definitely rely on Mozenda for helping to aggregate content and courses all under one roof.Read the full use case